Sometimes as Entrepreneurs we may see our days as simply work-sleep-work-sleep-work-etc… and while we hold a great passion for what we do, we sometimes tend to inadvertently run ourselves and our bodies into the ground.
The human after all is not a machine, we need our rest, our down time, and our relaxation, and that is where this article comes in.
As a hard working entrepreneur, ask yourself, when was the last time you took a break?
When was the last time you took a weekend to yourself, or even a few days off to go and enjoy some of the things in life?
It’s been a while hasn’t it? While working like a dog has it’s benefits – so does taking a few days to yourself. Sitting back and doing next to nothing, reading a book, and taking your mind away from the day-to-day can often invigorate you, and give you more clarity in your day to day tasks – and more importantly can make you more efficient, and help you solve problems in a more efficient and more acute manner.
How does this happen? Simple.
Relaxation helps to relax muscles and muscle tissue. In athletes it helps recovery times, and if you have problems relaxing on your own, think about getting a massage. A massage can help provide relief to trigger points.
Relaxation helps more than anything else to relieve stress, and we all know that as entreprenerus the one thing we have plenty of is stress. Stress aside from making you tense can also inhibit your ability to think and analyze problems clearly, this as you can imagine is detrimental to your and your business’ success.
Relaxation helps to increase circulation, meaning, more oxygen gets to the brain, and as such, allows you to again think better.
But what else helps you relax? We mentioned in a previous article, that exercise is is just all around good for your body, and has been proven to help increase dopamine levels in the brain. You know, that stuff that makes you happy.
Finally, taking a few days to yourself will also allow you time to spend with your family and friend, those things which we sometimes take for granted in our entrepreneurial lives while we’re running to make our business’ into the next Virgin “_enter word of your industry jargon here_”
So as Frankie who went to Hollywood said in 1984, Relax. When you relax your not stressed when your not stressed your happy and when your happy your healthy and when you’re healthy you’re more productive.
Many of us, founders and entrepreneurs, will feel like a fraud at some point. We tell our loved ones we’re working, we manage a small team, or maybe a big team of people, we invest time and money into our companies. We work from home, café’s and sometimes lack the office space that makes us feel “normal”.
We tell ourselves and the world at large that “my product is doing A,B,C,D,E” and that it can save the world to self-assured destruction or what have you. But the real question is, can it? Do we tell that to ourselves, our investors and pretty much everyone else involved because we feel that what we’re doing is a big joke, and we’re pulling a fast one over the community, our friends and family, the world? Do I even deserve the title of Director or CEO? After all, aren’t those names reserved for magnates of the industry?
The bad thing is, that as long as you’re an entrepreneur, these feelings won’t go away, the good news is, that they’re totally normal and many entrepreneurs have them. Turns out there’s a name for this feeling, it’s called “Impostor Syndrome” – and something to the effect of 40% of successful people have it, including doctors, graduate students, and the like.
If you have any of these feelings, it turns out you may, in fact, be an “Impostor Syndrome” sufferer, but don’t stress too much, it’s not a real recognized disorder.
Dismissal of compliments and praise
Mild constructive criticisms can become crippling.
Doubt in your talents, abilities, and intelligence.
The belief that you’re wasting your time.
Successful people are those with a job, a steady income, and a mortgage.
Taking credit for your accomplishments is difficult.
etc… etc… however, this self-doubt is in all actuality what keeps you going. The time spent reading about your industry, the time spends perfecting, honing your skills, reading up on current trends and “keeping up with the Joneses” are all positive activities that in fact make you more competitive and help you fight adversity. Each one of those doubts that you have regarding yourself pushes you closer to success.
But where do these feelings stem from? Even in societies that embrace risk such as the U.S., the majority of people will still be those that work for someone else, that have the 9-5 job, and bring home a monthly / weekly income. Companies are on the other hand are seen as large brands whose operations affect the lives of others in any manner of ways – not as a few people managing a few more people who make things. All the same, there is societal pressure to conform to those ideals and to become part of a larger more normal society. The thing is, that your average Joe doesn’t understand why you’ve decided to take a risk and start something totally new, most average Joe’s are satisfied with the status quo. We as entreprenerus are not.
So what does this all mean? Simply put two things, take your self doubt and make it into a positive force in your life and business.
Learn more, read more, always challenge yourself, put that doubt to work for you.
Take criticism lightly, and constructively, one of the best things you can do is have others tell you where things are lacking, they often see what you do not.
If you don’t believe in the benefits of your company’s products, talk to your customers, not only are they the best people to make your product better, but they will appreciate the service that you offer and that you care about them. This builds loyalty.
Though swords often have two edges, and there exists a very real possibility that your doubt can have a negative effect on your life and your business. If you see that doubt is affecting your work, and you believe that you can’t do it, don’t give up, do it, work harder at it. If you believe that your products are lacking in quality and that being the reason no one is buying them, look at your products, it may not be their quality, it may be your marketing strategy, distribution, communication strategy instead. In the end, you have to analyze your doubt, and see how it can be channeled positively into making your business grow and succeed.
Entrepreneurs are definitely a special breed, this is motivation, personality as well as a number of additional factors. So before you or someone you know wants to jump in and tackle the world, we recommend gauging your personality to see if you possess any of the critical success factors that make up an entrepreneur.
ENTREPRENEURIAL CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS
1. Belief in success – if you doubt yourself, if you don’t think you can do it, climb up a mountain and conquer the world, or if you don’t have somewhat megalomaniacal expectations of yourself and understand that accomplishing event half of those expectations will mean success to others, read no further and go get a 9-5 day job.
2. Possess valuable practical world experience – you may have a great idea, but having real world experience is vital, schools can only teach you so much, and this experience will often mean sink or swim for your enterprise. Furthermore, you should always be getting this experience, before your venture, during it, and after.
3. Be unusual and unconventional – Let’s face it, normal never got anywhere. Are you unusual, quirky, do you visualize the world in a unique and peculiar way? Great. This factor is key to you identifying opportunity.
4. Embrace risk and failure – The majority of the population is risk averse, they don’t like it because it means, possible failure and people are afraid of failure because of the way it will be perceived by others. But what is failure other than a great learning experience?
5. Want to leave the large Co. behind – If you like the large company, the security of belonging to someone on a fortune something hundred list, then Entrepreneurship is not for you. Entrepreneurs are independent thinkers, they are leaders, not followers.
6. Think like or belong to a society where above normal expectations are welcome – If the expectations in your society are to get a comfy job, because that comfy job provides security, and better yet it’s a government job. You’ll have a a harder climb than someone who belongs to a society that encourages risk taking. See how your societal culture holds up, if need be, leave.
7. Be ambitious – If someone tells you you’re thinking too big, maybe you’re not thinking big enough. As innovation is the mother of invention, ambition is the mother of innovation, and even though the developers of some new iPhone app will tell you it’s the next most innovative thing since sliced bread. It probably isn’t. Real innovation sprs positive change, be ambitious, think you can change the world. Do you?
And we’ll close this with words from one successful entrepreneur, Sidney Pulitzer, who started an undergraduate entrepreneurship course at Tulane University with the following opener.
“95% of the people on this planet have no clue what the hell is going on, out of the other 5%, 3% do know what’s going on, but they’re too God damn afraid to do anything about it. Those last 2% boys and girls, they’re the movers and shakers, so take a moment and ask yourselves. Where do you belong?”
You don’t feel effective or efficient, the doldrums got you down again, and you feel lost, bewildered, or simply think you’re not doing as well as you can. It’s natural, maybe you’re not going to the right meetings or are just starting to feel a little burned out. It happens, so here’s five tips, to making oneself more effective.
5. When you feel like you’re not going in the right direction, its common to help “reorganize” everything in order to see what’s missing, where you can be more effective, but reorganization takes time, and while it’s good to be organized to a degree don’t over-organize, at the end, it’s a big waste of time, and you wont see any benefit from it. In fact keeping over-organized will just suck up time you could be allocating to something more productive.
4. Use your time efficiently – i.e.
Do things only once -One of the things our brain does is re-remember things that haven’t been done yet and have/could/should be done. This is a waste of time.
Do things smarter -Almost every single task has been done by someone countless times before. A lot of people are looking to do things easier, faster and better in less time.
Automate things – Use software to do menial tasks. Someone’s probably already thought of a way to make _insert boring task_ easier.
Outsource things – Not good at web design, outsource it, not good at payroll or don’t have time, outsource it.
3. In your office draw up large schematics, sales targets, development targets, ideas, progress schematics, etc… etc… etc… on a large piece of paper, then hang them around your teams work space. You’ll see that those daily reminders will keep you moving forward and keep on reminding you of what needs to be done on the larger scale.
2. Keep a notebook. Splurge on a bound notebook, and carry it around with you everywhere you go, jot down ideas, concepts, people to call, soon you’ll be referencing it back, and trust us, no iPad, Laptop, or SmartPhone will be able to match a few pieces of paper and a pen.
1. Don’t Break the Chain – Sinefeld used it and touts it as a great motivation technique. Basically you tick off days where you’ve involved yourself in an activity. It’s not only great for keeping up with work, but for any activity such as exercise or even quitting smoking. As a concept it seems simplistic at best, but give it a go for a month, you’ll be hooked and feel super good about the level of stuff you’re getting done.